Well I'm super duper sick right now, with a crummy faucet of a nose. The PSI inside of my skull sets a personal record, and everything hurts! Life is great, though!
"I'm sicker 'n a drunk pig on a fishin' boat"
So we canceled our dinner tonight cuz we don't wanna spread this garbage to anyone else. So... if anybody wants to buy us pizza for dinner, that would bring us a lot of joy. I always like ham + tomato. Elder Bolos says he likes ham & black olives.
Bryant Pizza Hut: (501) 847-4818
Bryant Dominos: (501) 847-6100
-> 1916 Brandon Rd., apt. A2, at around 5:00!
You're the bestestestest. Thank you in advance!
We started the week off with a Spanish District Council, and then exchanges. I stayed with Elder Albertson, and we and the Spanish South Elders played soccer for a while with these little kids (ages 5 and 7) and that was really fun. They found any excuse to fall over themselves onto the ground. (Kinda like real soccer, I guess?) and I made a few good blocks and goals, so my ego was improved more than if I were to have played basketball haha. Or golf.
He wasn't sure where to go finding, so I pulled out my area book map, and scrolled around until I found a street called "Zion St." in South Little Rock. We figured there had to be somebody prepared to accept the gospel there, so off we went. The second door we knocked was an atheist lady, who surprisingly said we could come back, and then we went around a corner onto another street and met a guy who put down the tailgate of his truck for us to sit on and dragged over a camp chair. He had a pocket in his hoodie specifically designed to hold a beer, haha. We had a really good talk with him. And then when we were reporting on the contact, realized that he was 2 blocks outside of their area. Whoops.
From there we went to the church for a little bit, and were blessed to have Hermana Melo, a Spanish missionary from Venezuela, make arepas. Arepas are so good, y'all.
Then we went to the VA Hospital in Little Rock and gave a guy a blessing before his surgery/foot amputation scheduled the next day. He's been through some rough stuff.
We exchanged back the next day, and got busy! We did some door-to-door tracting until well after dark, and people asked us what we were doing out so late, but it was like 5:45?
Then it was Thanksgiving!
We had our District Council that morning, which was good. Sister Bolton brought a banana cream pie so that was a bonus! We then went to our lunch/dinner with the Richards family, who is pretty awesome!
Then it was Thanksgiving, day 2!
(I mean, if Black Friday is now an all-week thing... why can't Thanksgiving be the same way?)
So a week or two ago, we were going to text someone, but as we searched their number, a name neither of us recognized popped up first, so we clicked on it and a very short conversation from some past missionaries popped up. So we just texted them to ask how they were doing, and the response we got was an invitation to their Thanksgiving dinner on Friday! So, naturally, we accepted the offer.
After our weekly planning, we drove over to their house and slowly realized more and more how weird this was going to be haha. We'd never met either of them, and we kind of assumed they were expecting the past missionaries to be the ones they'd invited. We didn't know what kind of house or food we'd be getting ourselves into, but we were so pleasantly surprised! The Wilson family is awesome! They were so nice, and their daughter and soon-to-be-daughter-in-law were both into film photography! So that was fun to talk about but also made me miss my cameras. We ate on TV trays on their couches and just told stories while the Razorbacks lost like 38-0. So I mean I feel bad for the Razorbacks, but it was just a funny, cherry-on-top part of this awesome Arkansas Thanksgiving with total strangers at first, and good friends by the end of it all. Arkansas is awesome and the people are amazing.
Then that night we stopped by Tabitha's and she was still open to having us come over, yay! They're just not feeling well at the moment. And neither was Elder Bolos. I'd been sick already this season, so I figured I'd gotten off easy.
But nope. The next morning, I woke up with a little sore throat. Yippee.
The Otter Creek sisters had a baptism we went to, yay! So the Benton Zone has had 8 baptisms in November! Our goal was 3!
We had church the next morning, and I woke up without a sore throat. Yippee! But then the runny nose hit. Yippee.
I'd pay 11% tithing if it meant the church would invest in better toilet paper. That one ply isn't good to begin with, but it's also bad on your nose. Especially after the 20th-30th times. I made it through a baptismal interview with an awesome lady who just kept saying she was "so ready" and excited for her baptism in December! Man, that kind of excitement just makes me excited, too.
We'd been looking forward to our first missionary musical tribute in Searcy all week! Because Elder Bolos used to be in my district when I was in Searcy. He served in Beebe for 9 months, and I was in Searcy for a whoppin' 6 weeks. It was awesome to go back! But it would've been like 10x more awesome if I didn't feel like death. And if I didn't have to sing and be packed like a sardine with a bunch of other missionaries around me while I blew my nose into one-ply toilet paper every 1-12 minutes. And then just because there was a chapel full of people in front of us, that didn't mean it got any better, unfortunately. But I made it and only looked like a high, emotional rudolph every once in a while, I hope.
The drive home felt a lot longer than the drive there, and I ran out of tissues just a few minutes from our apartment. Got home and went to bed ASAP. And woke up feeling more like a 2/10 than a 0/10, so that was an improvement haha.
And that pretty much gets us up to now! It was a good week, made better by some good people. Arkansas is awesome. God is good. This is His church, no doubt about it. He lives and leads it down to orchestrating the littlest of details so Elder Dahl can be spoiled a little bit on Thanksgiving.
I'm thankful for you! And you! And you! Love,
For pictures of pizza?
For pizza delivery?
1916 Brandon Rd., apt. A2
Arkansas is a pretty amazing place to serve a mission.
We started this week off with a Zone P-Day at Third Realm, a trampoline park in Little Rock. Because we got there at 11AM on a Monday, we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves, so it was fun! And even worth being sore this whole week haha.
On Tuesday, I got to go on exchanges in downtown Little Rock again, and didn't hear any gunshots this time. Before we exchanged, we were able to put our bikes on the bike rack on our car, and got a ride to where Elder Draper and I ended up doing service most of the day. This guy lived in one of the many VERY hilly neighborhoods of Little Rock. And it was like 40 degrees outside, so I counted myself blessed for not having to bike that at least one of the ways.
We helped this guy spackle his trim around his windows and doors, and also finished putting in hardwood floors in his upstairs. I learned a lot and it ended up looking pretty good! While I'd be happy to help out again, I also learned that I'd probably prefer to contract that out, myself. :)
After we finished the job, he offered to give us a ride home! And he had a truck that we could put our bikes in! Um... yes. We spared no time in taking him up on that. We were blessed. And then we were blessed even more when our dinner appointment was also able to give us a ride! Saving us a frigid bike ride in the dark. God answers prayers.
They share an apartment with the Assistants to the President, and sometime over the summer, their heating and air went out. So the apartment complex gave them a cooler, and they had yet swapped it out for a heater. So when we got back to their apartment after dinner, it was probably like 50-something degrees in there. I went to bed almost missing the exchanges a few short months ago there when the A.C. was out and it was too hot! (Nah, I'd take cold sleeping over hot sleeping any day.)
The next day, we had Zone Conference! It was great! And it snowed outside during the last 4-5 hours of it! None of it really stuck to the roads, but the grass got dusted a li'l bit. So that was fun! Also... the Routts from Conway were there, and it was so awesome to catch up with them. We drove back home from North Little Rock, had a quick dinner, and then rode with another member up to try this guy who lives out in the middle of nowhere. He's a less-active member of the church, and we had a good visit with him. He's kinda crazy, but the best people are.
Thursday was pretty awesome, too. We got to tour New Life Church, a pop megachurch here in Bryant. They've got a few locations all over Arkansas, including in Conway. And so it seems like most of my mission I've been running into people who are "not interested" and "go to New Life" haha. They've all been really super nice to us, though. So Pastor Kevin showed us around their "campus" and it's pretty impressive! It's a cool, elegant, modern building, w/ a huge backlit stage in their auditorium. I've been to a lot of concerts on much smaller stages than theirs haha. He was super cool, and we left impressed. But my testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was also strengthened. Because, other than two crosses in the auditorium, there weren't any other symbols or pictures of Christ, and not once during the tour was the Savior brought up. If He's what it's all about... let's make it show? idk, that's my thought process anyway.
Then we met a guy named Juice. Yup, like apple juice.
A returning member we'd been working with for a while but lost track of gave us a call, too, and we visited him in his Days Inn hotel room for a while. Things are still hard for him, but going so much better. He's staying strong despite so much being thrown at him. He's awesome.
We tried to find some people in our records out in the middle of nowhere, but by the time we started it had been dark for an hour and was like 6:30. And people in Arkansas - especially those in the middle of nowhere - don't believe in making their street address visible. So slowing down to read addresses in the dark on a two lane windy road with like 3 cars following you and high-beaming your rear view mirrors is super fun.
On Friday, it was like 65 degrees outside, which was nice. We did some finding. Started talking to these 3 Hispanic guys and their English wasn't any better than my Spanish, so I tried my best and they nodded along. One of them kinda explained what we were all about to the other two, as I caught a phrase here and there. Idk how much we really understood one another, but I think one of them complimented my accent? Hahaha. I think I need to do some more spanish exchanges. Wendy's had a $1 any size fry deal and that made for a great end of our evening haha.
On Saturday, we had a long visit with this couple we've been teaching for a few weeks, now. We taught them the whole Plan of Salvation, which I think was a little overwhelming for them, but I can't blame them. After answering most of their questions and getting ready to go, her 15-year-old sister walks in the front door and starts asking a bunch of questions, which actually started to become really good once she cleared up the fact that we weren't a polygamist cult. So that was a cool miracle this week. It's not often we're the ones inside and someone knocks on the door and finds us to be taught! :)
Sunday was good! We had leftover thanksgiving dinner stuff, and so it was awesome to be able to enjoy the leftovers aspect of thanksgiving before the week even started. We were blessed. Thanksgiving leftovers are the best.
So that's this week in short! It's been hard, it's been good. It's been cold, it's been nice. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be!
Love y'all and have a happy thanksgiving!
Well, the 1st week of the transfer is over already. I use the word "rollercoaster" a lot to describe weeks and missionary work in general, but this week was more of a rollercoaster than usual. Especially that part of the rollercoaster in between nearing the top and hurtling towards the ground hahaha. It's been interesting.
I've written a bit about Tabitha before. She is so awesome. She started out joking about chasing us off with a broom, and last week she came to church and has been preparing to be baptized on the 17th, a special day to her. We had a lot we needed to teach her this week. Things started out great. She has noticed all kinds of blessings in her life since coming to church, which is so cool! She talked about how she's seen herself change since meeting with us. She even signed up to feed us and the sister missionaries the next day, so we were excited!
While waiting for a member to come with us, she showed us how to make paper cranes and with [a lot of] help, mine even turned out pretty alright! Dinner went well, and then we started the lesson reviewing the Plan of Salvation before teaching the Word of Wisdom. (God's law of health, which includes things like not smoking, drinking, coffee, tea, etc.) That one was a hard one for her. And understandably. Changing that is so hard. So... since that lesson on Wednesday we haven't been able to have another lesson with her. And she didn't come to church yesterday, which means that she won't have attended church enough times to be baptized on the 17th. :( So please keep her in your prayers. She's goin' through a lot. Idk if I've ever been so stressed out by another person before in my life, but I hope she comes around.
We did a lot of finding this week and it went pretty well! Some days it was rough, other days it was better. One little white-haired lady who wasn't interested at all at least told us a few jokes before closing her door haha. ("How do you get a squirrel to like you? Act like a nut!" and "What do you call someone who takes care of chickens? A chicken tender!")
I wish more people told us jokes when they weren't interested haha.
Down the road we got into a frustrating conversation with a guy who was very convinced that he was right, to the point of rejecting logic, God's universal love, and the need for additional revelation beyond the Bible. Closing the scriptural canon does nothing but limit God, who said all power in heaven and earth was given to HIM, not the Bible. (As great a book as it is.)
Talked with another lady who used to be a member of the church. She has 6 kids and her husband isn't a member. And at some point, their 2 oldest kids were going to be baptized, but then they moved and fell out of it. Here's to hoping we can make that happen!
We were trying a guy we met a few weeks ago, and he wasn't home. But his nextdoor neighbor blasts rap and hip-hop music all day long. Apparently it's this old lady that's had the cops called on her a bunch of times, but the whole neighborhood has just given up on fighting it. His neighbor across the street has a goat, and it was just a funny thing to be looking at this goat grazing in an otherwise quiet neighborhood with gangster rap playing loudly from across the street. #Arkansas
We helped set up another Christmas tree, this time for President and Sister Jones, the 2nd counselor of the mission presidency and his wife. They're so wonderful. Also, Mariah Carey's Christmas song played in Wal-Mart this morning, but I'm in denial.
It is cold outside, though. One day had a low of 27, and it's been in the 40s most of the week. Which, out here, feels like 20s or 30s in Idaho. Layerin' up the sweaters. Humidity is weird.
Made some French toast for dinner one night, that was delightful.
On Sunday, we didn't have anyone come visit the church, which was a bummer cause we'd invited a lot of people and had been hoping for Tabitha and her daughter to be there, but she'd kinda stopped responding to our messages...
After church, though, we were able to go teaching with the stake president, Pres. Dixon, to some patients of his that had been looking at a Book of Mormon in his office lobby. We visited with husband and wife and their son, who's a senior in high school, for like two and a half hours. Mainly because the dad was super talkative and spoke in such a way that he managed to repeat every aspect of each story he told twice haha. But they all asked a lot of really good questions! So we will see what happens!
It's gonna be a good week because I say so! Love y'all!
1916 Brandon Rd., apt A2
Bryant, AR 72022
I tried for the longest time to fit "near-death experiences" in the title of my email, but I didn't wanna make my mom worry. So I just used "gunshots" instead.
There is no way this email [or any other attempt to record or describe all that happened this week] is going to scratch the surface in conveying all that this week was. It was amazing, incredible, scary, rewarding, exciting, sad, and exhausting both spiritually and physically. All that considered... when I look back on my mission, I hope it's a week like this that comes to mind. 2 district councils, a Leadership Training Meeting, 3 exchanges, a bunch of lessons, a bunch of interesting people... sweating and freezing and raining in the same week. It was a good time.
We had kind of a lazy P Day last week which was nice. We had one appointment that evening, and it was one of the best lessons of my mission. We taught Amber & Jase (that couple who figured out America was the promised land) about the Plan of Salvation. We only got through the first little bit, but it was awesome anyway because they just GOT it. "So... earth is kinda like God training?" Amber asked. "We're here to practice to become Gods. I can see why people might have a problem with that, but... that makes a lot more sense than playing the harp forever." So that was just so cool to me. They are awesome.
Tuesday was interesting. We went to Pinnacle Mountain's [the downtown Little Rock Elders] District Meeting and then exchanged with them. I stayed in downtown Little Rock with Elder Walker. They're a full bike area, and I'd biked there before, but I definitely hadn't biked as much as I did that day since I was in Conway or maybe even Collierville almost a year ago haha. But I survived! It's hilly up in there, too. The worst part is a stretch by their apartment with a curb to your left and a busy road on the other side, no sidewalk, a path of matted-down grass 4 inches across, and then tall grass on your right side going down into a ditch. Oh, and traffic cones to your right that you have to swerve around without falling off the curb, too. It'd have been fun if I wasn't worried about the consequences of biking 3 inches too far in either direction haha.
But anyway, our first stop didn't work out, so we parked our bikes and walked down the street like 2 blocks, and tried somebody they'd met in the corner house across the street. No answer. From their door, I could see further down this perpendicular street. A guy was sitting out on his porch and I told Elder Walker we should go talk to him. So we crossed the street again towards our bikes, but turned right and talked with the guy in that kitty-corner house. He wasn't interested and kinda blew us off, but said we could try his neighbor.
So we go try his neighbor, the 3rd house on that side of the road, around the corner from where we parked our bikes. We walk up to the door, and can't see around the house towards the guy we had just talked with. We knocked, no answer. And then POP POP POP POP POP! We jumped and stepped a little closer into the corner of the house. POP POP came a distant response. We held our breath.
Obviously, my first thought was that they were gunshots. We were in kind of a shady part of downtown Little Rock. But then I thought they could maybe be fireworks? Then 2 guys who were smoking weed in their car in the next house over rolled their window down, and were like "Auwwhhh [I'll let you fill in the blank] what wuz that?!"
We went over and talked with them and they were pretty stoned, but told us that's a part of life in the hood. What the heck haha. A police officer drove by and asked us if we heard gunshots. We walked back towards our bikes, and as we rounded the corner, I saw a shell, and then another and another... 5 bullet shells just there on the street corner. Nobody ended up getting hurt as far as we heard! So that's good. All the same, we biked outta there pretty quick haha. But hey! You've gotta have one of these kinda stories from your mission.
We got back to their apartment early and were picked up by a member around 4:30 to go help a single mom and her 7 kids move across town. The sister missionaries had beat us there, and left after 30-40 minutes for an appointment. A lot of stuff was boxed up, but... There was a lot of stuff left. The member we rode with had a jeep, and they didn't have a uhaul or a trailer or a pickup truck... and for 2 hours we were the only ones helping. So we loaded like 10 boxes into the trunk of his jeep and went over to her new house with the keys. But... The landlord had changed the keys on her, cuz the ones she gave us didn't work.
So we sat in the driveway of her new house for the better part of an hour waiting for her landlord to come. By the time we started unloading the first jeepload, it was dark outside. When we returned to her house, the Elders Quorum President had arrived with a small pickup truck and a furniture dolly, but that was all the reinforcements we got. We made another 2-3 trips, filling the truck and jeep to max capacity and going back and forth. We didn't have dinner until going through the Little Caesar's drive through at 9:15 after like 4 hours of that. Man, Little Caesar's never tasted so good. The poor member with the jeep that took us home went back again to help longer. What a saint.
On Wednesday, we had our district's District Council, which Elder Bolos and I planned in the 20 minute drive between the Pinnacle Mountain apartment and our church building. It turned out alright. And then we drove home. It was E. Bolos' week to drive, and we were sitting at a yield left turn light. Across from us were two lanes of traffic, and for some reason the guy in the left lane over there was at a stop. We waited, and he didn't move. Another car came speeding around the corner and Elder Bolos started to turn left, because his view was blocked by the car sitting there. "Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa!!!!" was all I could say, shouting with increasing fear and volume as I saw this car coming directly for my side window.
At some point as we turned, I remember thinking, "okay, we are far enough now that the car isn't going to hit my door, but there is no way it's not going to hit us." When we got safely in our desired lane without an impact to our backseat, I was surprised. The other car had slowed down some, and likely turned to avoid us, but... The first thing I said was to ask if the other car had just phased through us like a hologram, because there is no way...
So we figured we probably had some important stuff to do that day. So we went off and then I filled out our miles sheet a little late for the day and discovered... Oh no, we only have 10 miles left for the whole day. So we pulled into the first neighborhood we could and scrapped our plans. Spent a while finding there without a ton of success, which was a bummer. Talked with a Jew, and then a Messianic Jew, and some other interesting people.
We had a group of little kids trick or treat our apartment, but that was it because it rained, rained, rained later that night. I tried making enchiladas without a recipe and... I'll be darned, they actually turned out pretty good!
Thursday was good! We had a Leadership Training Meeting in North Little Rock, and didn't almost die! Yay! Afterward, I exchanged with Elder Albertson and stayed in Benton this time. He had just gotten a haircutting kit and wanted to give it a try, so I somewhat reluctantly agreed to be experimented on. I was a little worried after hearing such things as "oops," "wow, I think this is a two," and "how much scalp do you want to see?" But... I'll be darned, it actually turned out pretty good! It's been a week of pleasant surprises haha.
Friday was also good! Elder Albertson and I put in some good work and found 2 new people to teach. It was sweet. We then exchanged back with Elder Ramirez and Elder Bolos, and then went right into our 3rd exchange of the week, with the Little Rock Elders. I went there this time. We started the night off riding around with a recent convert and making a few visits, but no one was home. We went to visit a referral, but as we walked up towards the house in the dark a dog started bolting after us so we just turned around and played it cool as we walked back to the car. I'm not about to get bit again haha.
We biked around some more on Saturday. Started in a trailer park and I was able to give a half-decent door approach in Spanish to one lady! She was patient with me and said the Spanish missionaries could come back over haha. Score! Had a pretty good lesson and then signed ourselves up to help move some freshly cut oak logs in our white shirts and ties haha. Those suckers were heavy. But we had a good visit with the family we helped and they appreciated it. RIP my legs and back after this week haha.
That night we got the transfer email, and... Elder Bolos and I are staying! He'll be my first companion I've been with for longer than 2 transfers, and I will have been in Benton as long as I was in Conway and Searcy combined. Wow, time flies! Our zone is changing a little bit... The Little Rock Elders got "pinkwashed," and one of the sisters taking their place is just moving from the Benton ward, so she will still be in our district haha. So our whole district except Elder Bolos and I is sisters, now. So we also have one less companionship that we exchange with, for better or worse. Benton is the place to be!
On Sunday... Tabitha came to church!! (She's the one who originally joked about chasing us off with a broom, and who is preparing to be baptized on Nov. 17th!) She was a little overwhelmed, but I can't blame her! Her 10 month old seemed to do pretty good, even if she choked out another baby haha. We've been trying to get her to church for a long time, now, so it was a good day! After church, we had our Stake and Mission President correlation meeting which was awesome as usual. One of the counselors in the stake presidency had been in a bishopric for as long as I've been alive haha. It's cool learning from them.
We had stake and mashed Idaho potatoes for dinner so I was a happy happy camper. Had call-ins with the zone, and the blessing of the "renewing of their bodies" started to expire real quick. I was exhausted, but in a really good way. The Benton Zone is doing awesome. Our zone goal for baptisms in November is 3. We had 1 this weekend, and have 13 more people preparing to be baptized in November across the zone. It is so awesome. We are so blessed. People are being prepared to accept the restored gospel and the peace and answers it brings!
I know this church is led by Jesus Christ Himself. It is the only true and living church upon the face of the earth. How can I possibly claim that? I am not claiming it... I am quoting it. Jesus Christ said it. Pray and talk with Heavenly Father about it. (See “Ye May Know”, by Keith B. McMullin, April 1996 General Conference)
Well I love y'all and hope you know I know. Have a great week!
Too much leftover Halloween candy? I can fix that
1916 Brandon Rd, apt. A2
Bryant, AR 72022
Serving A Mission!
What's all this about? As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is expected of me that I will serve a two-year mission. (And yeah, the "riding bikes and wearing nametags and knocking on doors" kind of mission.) But this isn't something I'm doing because it's expected of me... I'm doing this because the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life SO much, in SO many ways. I can't think of a greater honor or responsibility than being able to play a part in someone's story of finding and enjoying these blessings, too.
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(After June 20, 2017)
Elder Oliver Wrigley Dahl
Arkansas Little Rock Mission
905 Kierre Dr
North Little Rock AR 72116